Tourism Commodity Chains: Market Entry and its Effects on St Lucia

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Tour operators have received considerable attention as gatekeepers of the tourism system. Corporate changes in the European package tourism industry via mergers and acquisitions have resulted in horizontal as well as vertical integration, with the modification of relationships within the tourism system. This paper examines the structural organisation of UK package tourism by analysing the Commodity Chain to St Lucia. First, it considers the commodification process of tourism and the range of commodification, before turning to a macro-level analysis of the tourism system following the vertical assembly of the tourism product. Finally, the paper underlines the additional importance of intra-nodal relationships. Specific circumstances, as exemplified by the market entry of the Virgin Travel Group, can lead to the amplification of pre-existing governance structures.